What you need to know:
- Party unhappy that the Appropriation Act has for the second time in the same financial year, adversely varied or altered mandatory statutory financial allocations to the Political Parties Fund.
- Sh1.47 billion is meant to be shared among at least 48 political parties with President William Ruto’s UDA getting the lion’s share followed by ODM.
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party has accused Kenya Kwanza administration of cutting down funds meant for political parties by Sh812 million, a move the Raila-Odinga party said is meant to weaken the opposition.
In a petition to be heard tomorrow (December 7) ODM says the reduction of the funds is a violation of its legitimate expectations in law as the party has been deprived of over Sh1.2 billion of monies needed to effectively discharge its mandate and run its programmes.
Through lawyer Jackson Awele, ODM said the Appropriations Act, 2023, published June 26, 2023 has further cut back to the original allocation of Sh1.47 billion made in the June 2023/24 budget estimates, meant for all qualifying political parties and the Registrar of Political Parties.
The opposition party added that even the original Sh1.47 billion allocated was already well below the statutory minimum allocation of Sh6 billion for the financial year 2023/2024 by over Sh4.5 billion.
“There is plausible cause to believe that the Respondents’ actions are a well calculated, deliberate, surreptitious collateral attack on multi-party democracy - the fundamental pillar undergirding the Republican, sovereign democratic state that the Constitution declares Kenya to be – by gradually undermining, weakening and destroying the effectiveness of political parties,” ODM executive director Oduor Ong’wen said in an affidavit.
The party has named National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula, CS Treasury Njuguna Ndung’u, Attorney General Justin Muturi and Registrar of Political Parties as respondents in the case.
Justice Chacha Mwita directed Mr Awele to serve the respondents with the court documents and appear before him for directions on December 7.
The ODM party said it is aggrieved that the Appropriation Act has for the second time in the same financial year, adversely varied or altered mandatory statutory financial allocations to the Political Parties Fund to its detriment and that of qualifying Political Parties.
The Sh1.47 billion is meant to be shared among at least 48 political parties with President William Ruto’s UDA getting the lion’s share followed by ODM.
ODM will be arguing that Parliament grossly misapprehended Article 223 of the Constitution as read with section 24 and 25 of the Political Parties Act and deliberately ignored a binding decision delivered by the Court of Appeal in 2019.
In the decision, the Appellate court held that the reduction of constitutionally anchored and statutorily mandated funds is a collateral attack and threat to multi-party democracy and the principles and values of democracy, accountability and the rule of law.
The party now wants the court to suspend the implementation of the Supplementary Appropriation Act, 2023 published on November 24.
“That pending the hearing and determination of the Petition, the Honourable Court be pleased to grant mandatory conservatory orders compelling the Respondents to release to the interested party the full statutorily mandated allocations to the political parties fund for the 2nd quarter of the 2023/2024 financial year in accordance with provisions of the Appropriations Act, 2023 published on 26th June 2023 vide Kenya Gazette Supplement No. 98 (Acts No. 5) as relates to the Political Parties Fund,” ODM urged.
ODM maintained that Article 223 of the Constitution can only authorise the government to spend money that has not been appropriated and cannot be invoked to adversely vary already appropriated funds through a supplementary appropriations Act.
The party will seek orders compelling the government to comply with the provisions of Section 24 of the Political Parties Act and allocate not less than 0.3 percent of the revenue collected to the Political Parties Fund.